Hydrothermal conversion of one-photon-fluorescent poly-(4-vinylpyridine) into two-photon-fluorescent carbon nanodots

Katherine Lawrence, Fengjie Xia, Rory L Arrowsmith, Haobo Ge, Geoffrey W Nelson, John S Foord, Monica Felipe-Sotelo, Nick D M Evans, John M. Mitchels, Stephen E Flower, Stanley W Botchway, Daniel Wolverson, Gazi Aliev, Tony D James, Sofia I. Pascu, Frank Marken

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A novel two-photon-fluorescent N,O-heteroatom-rich carbon nanomaterial has been synthesized and characterized. The new carbon nanoparticles were produced by hydro-thermal conversion from a one-photon-fluorescent poly-(4-vinylpyridine) precursor (P4VP). The carbonized particles (cP4VP-dots) with non-uniform particle diameter (ranging from sub-6 nm to 20 nm with some aggregates up to 200 nm) exhibit strong fluorescent properties in different solvents and have also been investigated for applications in cell culture media. The cP4VP-dots retain their intrinsic fluorescence in a cellular environment and exhibit an average excited state lifetime of 2.0 ± 0.9 ns in cell. The cP4VP-dots enter HeLa cells and do not cause significant damage to outer cell membranes. They provide one-photon or two-photon fluorescent synthetic scaffolds for imaging applications and/or drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11746–11752
Issue number39
Early online date12 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014


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